Have you ever been stung by a fire ant? Even if you haven’t, you probably know how (supposedly) bad and evil fire ants are. Yet fire ants, and a couple other well-known invasive ant species like Argentine ants, are only a few out of about 13,000 known species of ants, and they give all of these other species a bad rap. So today, let’s look at a new study by co-first authors Kevin Li and Yifan He and colleagues that properly flips the script: invasive plants push around friendly native ants.
As regular readers of The Daily Ant know already, ants harbor lots of bacteria. A growing number of studies are revealing that we should investigate these microbial communities, and their associations with their hosts, in order to fully understand the ecology and evolution of ants. In pursuit of this goal, Manuela Ramalho and colleagues just published an interesting study on the microbial composition of one of the coolest ant groups – Polyrhachis, the spiny ants.
So, you have some communities of ants. You notice that some communities are more diverse than others. In […]
Anyone who is a human living in a human society knows that social life carries with it the risk […]
In our recent Philosophy Phriday interview with UNC philosopher Ram Neta, Dr. Neta expressed surprise at the fact […]
[UPDATED with a video, below] Some researchers recently published a study in which they placed Cataglyphis desert ants on treadmills. […]
Many research programs in biology neglect natural history. While investigating sophisticated hypotheses and theories, even very basic information […]
Meet Sophie Schofield, Dr. Tom Bishop, and Dr. Kate Parr:
These three ant researchers wanted to know how drastically different environments impact functional traits in ants. So, they found out, and published their discoveries in Myrmecological News in September of last year.
Every living thing needs nutrients. Much previous work has shown that a variety of soil nutrients – in particular Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potassium (K) – greatly impact plant communities. Often, human behaviors, especially agricultural practices like fertilization, have generated significant shifts in these nutrients. When environments become flushed with these nutrients, overall biomass typically increases but biodiversity often decreases. This is expected according to two hypotheses:
- Nutrient Limitation Hypothesis: Limitations in nutrients suppress abundance, and therefore increases in nutrients will drive increased abundance.
- Community Homogenization Hypothesis: Species that are most efficient at utilizing resources are prevented from completely excluding other species due to resource limitations. Therefore, increases in nutrients will allow these species to competitively exclude other species, decreasing overall diversity.
Six days ago, we featured a story about ant butts. Five days ago, we featured a quote from a […]
On Thursday, Field Correspondant Natalia Piland, who is currently undercover as an evolutionary biologist studying birds in Peru, provided The […]
Perhaps the most widely-appreciated characteristic of ant colonies is their propensity for collective decision-making. How does a colony, with behavioral […]